Welcome to CAMRA West Kent

This website is for CAMRA members who have an interest in the West Kent Branch.

The branch area includes the towns of Edenbridge, Sevenoaks, Tonbridge, Tunbridge Wells and Westerham.


West Kent Branch Returns to Socialising

We’ve hastily agreed our first social after lockdown at the Halfway House Beer Festival, Brenchley next Saturday, 28th August from 1pm or thereabouts. Bus service 297 runs from TW station via the town centre, Pembury and Matfield. The recommended bus is at 12.15 arriving at about 12.50 outside the pub. There is also an earlier one at 10.45 (check HH opening time) and a later one at 14.15 for latecomers. Return buses at about 16.50 & 18.20. Meet at the bus stop, on the bus or at the pub. This is always a great event.

Want to Volunteer? Blue Bell Railway Inaugural Beer Festival

Blue Bell Railway inaugural Beer Festival from Sheffield Park Station (on Blue Bell line) in conjunction with Sussex CAMRA branches are seeking volunteers. The festival runs from 10th – 12th Sept and they need people for set up and tear down as well as at the event. Email back for a staffing form or find details here: https://bluebell.vticket.co.uk/product.php/390

Or Attend?
For those wishing to visit this promising new festival there are special coach services from our area so I suggest booking early to safeguard your seat and ensure it runs. Here are the all-important details. Coach travel is £8 return (Sevenoaks £9), bookable in advance, along with separate charge for entrance via www.bluebell-railway.com/special-events
(Service E) on Saturday 11th September, starting 12.00 at Sevenoaks Rail and Bus stations, then Tonbridge station 12.15 approx., outside the Imperial PH, London Rd, Southborough 12.25 approx., Tunbridge Wells (Tesco), Tunbridge Wells station, and Tunbridge Wells West station (Spa Valley/Sainsburys) 12.40 approx., for the afternoon session, leaving Sheffield Park at 4pm.
The evening coach will be a similar service leaving Sevenoaks at 5.45pm. It will leave Sheffield Park when the festival closes for the evening at 9.30pm.
In addition, on Friday 10th evening there is a bus (Service F) for a visit to the festival and a trip on the steam railway. For West Kent members, it will start at Tonbridge Station at 5.20pm, then – 5.30pm Southborough London Rd (Imperial PH) – 5.35pm Tunbridge Wells Grosvenor Rd (Tesco) – 5.45pm Tunbridge Wells Station – 5.55pm Tunbridge Wells West Spa Valley/Sainsburys – 6.35pm Sheffield Park Station.
Driver awaits at station until decides to drive up empty to East Grinstead.
Visitors enjoy beer festival, then leave station on 10.00pm steam train to East Grinstead, arriving 10.40pm.
Bus leaves East Grinstead station 10.50pm – (15 miles) 11.20 pm Tunbridge Wells West Spa Valley/Sainsburys (1 mile) –  11.30pm (to catch last departing train south at 11.40) Tunbridge Wells Station – 11.45pm Tunbridge Wells Grosvenor Rd (Tesco) – 11.50pm Southborough London Rd (Imperial PH) – 12.00am Tonbridge Station.

Speaking of Volunteering – SVR Needs More Help

We emailed members recently to sound you all out about the upcoming 10th Anniversary Spa Valley Railway Beer Festival. It’s not long now so if you haven’t already replied to volunteer your services then please do so as volunteers will be harder to get this year due to the pandemic.


Vote For Your Champion Beer of Britain 2021

Details here: https://cbob.camra.org.uk/



With that nasty COVID-19 interfering with all aspects of our lives the little matter of who won the Region’s Pub of the Year (POTY) accolade for 2020 unfortunately got left to one side. With all the uncertainty over when pubs could open and the social distancing requirements once they did it has not been possible to have any formal presentations. The plan is to have a one-on-one presentation of certificates to the various winners and something more celebratory once restrictions (notice how we’ve stopped say ‘when this is all over’ !!), with full “press coverage” and photos.

BUT in the meantime below are the winners of the West Kent Region’s Pub of the Year for 2020 (drum roll please):



CIDER POTY 2020                      THE NELSON ARMS, TONBRIDGE




Congratulations to all our winners and we look forward to some real celebrations as soon as we can.





Like a beacon shining out through the darkness some of our local brewers are now able to offer a take-away or delivery service. Clearly with restrictions to comply with COVID-19 requirements but as at 27th March the following services are available (obviously check all details directly with the brewers concerned).


  • Pig & Porter, TW – has reopened for deliveries of 5 litre mini kegs £20 each or 3 for £50 www.pigandporter.co.uk
  • Cellar Head – has re-introduced click and collect from the brewery and also does delivery within 15 miles via website / credit card £25 min. www.cellarheadbrewing.com 
  • Tonbridge – take-away or delivery / pre-order on 01622 871239 www.tonbridgebrewery.co.uk
  • Westerham – has re-introduced click and collect as well as delivery service. Extensive range of beers in various containers, other drinks and bar snacks, delivery within 20 miles (30 minutes) are free over £80 – pre-order on website www.westerhambrewery.co.uk
  • Alpha State – 5lt mini kegs and bottles, free local delivery to most TN and some ME postcodes www.alphastatebeer.com
  • Good Things Brewing at Eridge – takeaway cans and refills (bring a container) from the brewery shop https://goodthingsbrewing.co/
  • Larkins – takeaway 5 litre mini casks, polypins and mini-pins phone to order 01892 870328 www.larkinsbrewery.co.uk
  • Titsey Brewery (Near Tatsfield) Call Craig on 07850 914189. May suit members in the general Sevenoaks/Westerham area, located behind the Botley Hill Inn is just over the border in Surrey.

If you know of any other Brewers locally offering a Take-Away or Delivery service please let us know.


Free Brew2You app 

CAMRA’s new beer ordering app is now ready to download and use. Ordering beer, cider or perry directly to your doorstep couldn’t be simpler. Just download the app, search for your favourite drink within your local area and order it to your door with just a click of a button.   


Sign the Petition to Save Pubs by Cutting Taxes on Them

It’s very easy to do at: https://www.longlivethelocal.pub/

Pub News – Potential Community Pubs in Our Branch

The Royal Oak, Crockham Hill community purchase campaign is progressing well. Locals have agreed a price subject to the results of surveys and are currently negotiating with the vendors for repairs etc. to be carried out prior to completion. They have received help from the Plunkett Foundation and held a packed village meeting on 4th October with over 100 villagers to discuss purchasing the Royal Oak on behalf of the community via a Community Benefit Scheme. Since then they have raised 50% of their goal in support pledges so still have a way to go, but the enthusiasm in the community is encouraging. A new tenants’ agreement has been discussed and agreed in principle with the current tenants and plans have begun for improvements to the building and the way the pub business is run following acquisition. If you want to be involved, pledge money or keep informed email Stuart Wilkie at help@save-royal-oak.co.uk

The Fox & Hounds, Toys Hill is currently closed and is also the subject of a community purchase campaign as reported recently in the Courier newspaper. Not much info on this one yet but we hope to be able to shed more light soon. If you want to support the campaign please email Micaela West at micaelawest@btinternet.com

The Stanhope Arms, Brasted is subject of a possible community interest in purchasing and there is to be a meeting in the village hall on 12th February.

Westerham Brewery Visit – Sunday 3rd November

On our recent Branch Visit to Westerham 16 hardy souls travelled by 401 bus being picked up at various stops along the way.  But then the walk from the bus stop on the A25 is not the easiest, or safest !!  There is a footpath along the A25 but as soon as you walk down the A233 Beggars Lane there is only an overgrown verge to walk on or the road which can be quite busy.

On arrival we found that we had given tables set among the conditioning tanks.  Unfortunately the brewer, Robert Wicks, was not able to be there but we were well looked after by his staff.  On offer were five of their cask ales along with four more on keg.  In the car park outside there was a “street food” van providing snacks and more substantial meals. After a pleasant couple of hours we made our way back to the bus stop where we caught a 401 to Chipstead for a comfort break at the Bricklayers Arms which is a Harvey’s pub.  As well as their regular beers we were able to partake of the Old and Bonfire Boy which were both in excellent condition.  We then caught the last 401 bus back to Tunbridge Wells.

Remember the Farmer’s in Sevenoaks ?

As you may know the much-loved Farmer’s pub in Sevenoaks, opposite the railway station, closed its doors for the last time in January 2006 and was knocked down by its new owners, a property company, despite fierce opposition.  Since then the site has remained derelict, although two planning permissions were granted to build flats and retail units. The Sevenoaks Society did its best to help save the pub, objecting to both applications; the original one, to demolish it, was turned down by Sevenoaks District Council, but overturned on appeal – as was the second, for a revised scheme.

The Society has sought to persuade the Council to take action, but despite their efforts, the concerns of many in the town, and the discussions between the developers and the Council, no progress has been made.  So they have launched a campaign that some of our members may wish to support by signing a petition urging the Council to purchase the site, and develop a scheme of their own, to include an element of much-needed social housing. We can’t bring the pub back. But the derelict site is an eyesore at a key gateway to the town and more importantly it represents an opportunity to provide residential accommodation in town, helping to meet the government’s assessment of our housing need, rather than build on the Green Belt. 
The petition may be signed on-line (using Sevenoaks District Council’s E-petition page on their web-site): https://sevenoaks.moderngov.co.uk/mgEPetitionDisplay.aspx?id=42 There is also a paper petition that can be obtained from Keith Wade – see below.
Anyone who signs must have a home or work address in Sevenoaks District.  They have over 500 signatures so far but need 1000 plus for the matter to be debated in full Council.

Further Request
Keith Wade, who brought this issue to our attention, is writing a book on the pubs of Sevenoaks. The Farmer’s will feature large, so if anyone has any stories to tell, or any information or images of interest, he would love to hear from them. He’s also trying to pin down the exact date of the pub’s demolition. kwc@keithwadeconsulting.co.uk


40 Years “At Anchor” !

A party from West Kent CAMRA recently visited Barry at The Anchor in Sevenoaks to celebrate his 40th “birthday” at the pub. Quite an achievement! Our picture shows branch chairman Trevor presenting Barry with a caricature to commemorate the occasion.

More Accolades for Harvey’s

A double presentation was recently made to Miles Jenner, Head Brewer at multiple award-winning Harvey’s brewery in Lewes, East Sussex.

A coach full of West Kent CAMRA volunteers who served over 14,000 pints of beer at the 8th annual Spa Valley Railway beer and cider festival in October 2018, the largest and most successful to date, were greeted by Miles in the brewery yard who then proceeded to provide an engaging and entertaining tour of the brewery culminating in the tasting of a range of Harvey’s fine cask ales in the racking room.

Emerging into the spring sunshine Craig Beeson, West Kent vice chair and festival organiser, presented Miles with a Gold Award certificate for Bonfire Boy, having been voted “Beer Of The Festival” by the public who chose from over 200 beers available. The three day festival is now one of the largest to be held in the south east and unique with its three locations as well as beers being available on the train, and will feature other favourites from Harvey’s this year. This award for the Lewes brewery is very appropriate for a town with a renowned reputation for its Bonfire Night celebrations!

Craig was joined by Ian Hodge, BLO for Harvey’s, who on behalf of CAMRA officially presented Miles with the Silver Award certificate for Harvey’s Old Ale in the Old Ales/Strong Milds category in the Champion Winter Beer of Britain competition at the GBBF Winterfest held in Norwich in February.

We would like to thank Miles for his hospitality and the time and effort he devoted to making the occasion so enjoyable and look forward to welcoming Harvey’s beers among the 200 to be available at the 2019 festival in Tunbridge Wells to be held over the three days 18th-20th October. Any volunteers able to help at the festival or in organising it would be most welcome.

The easiest ways to help CAMRA West Kent?

The number 1, easiest, but most important thing that CAMRA members can do to help any branch is to enter pub and beer scores via WhatPub. If you enter scores for pubs that you try they will get fed back to the relevant branch, and will be used for deciding which pubs go in the Good Beer Guide. The menu on the left contains a guide to Beer Scoring, or follow the WhatPub link above to go direct. 

Branch Volunteering
We really need more active, campaigning members on the branch committee to spread the workload . We’re all volunteers as you know, so if you want to be more involved let us know or come to our branch meetings and get involved. Also put your hand-up and volunteer to help at the events the branch organise, especially the Beer Festival at the Spa Valley Railway – always good fun and a great way to get involved.